Hits, Misses and Empties for May

Hits, Misses and Empties for May - By Megan Kelly

I was hoping to make my hits, misses and empties a regular series on the blog, but over the last 3-4 months, I haven’t really been using many beauty products. In fact, I go weeks without wearing a stitch of makeup and purely rely on having a good skin routine. It’s not that I have lost my love for makeup – it’s just been too hot to want to layer on makeup, especially when I am as pregnant as I am. In many ways, my passion for trying new makeup-looks has me itching to pull out all my stored palettes and go wild, but if I am being very honest, my energy is at an all-time low right now, but you can expect to be hit with a variety of beauty content, when everything returns to normal.

I finally have enough products to put together a half-decent post of hits, misses and empties so without dragging this out too much, let’s start – shall we?

Disclosure: It goes without saying that I realize that sometimes, featuring products in a negative light isn’t always well-received but that’s the thing about beauty products, what may work really well for me, might not work for you and vice versa. There are several factors to consider, in these instances, like skin type, hair color, hair texture, and even the oiliness of your eyelid can contribute to a product acting differently. But, I do try state in every review why the product did or did not work for me, in hopes of helping you decide whether to try it or not. All of the products that are featured in my misses, are not wasted and usually get donated, given to friends who it may work better for, or are kept for a time where my skin or hair may be better suited, to retrial it.

Hits

Revlon Love Her Madly Breathless - By Megan KellyRevlon Love Her Madly Breathless

Revlon kicked off the new year by relaunching the Love Her Madly range which saw the introduction of a fresh bottle design for the existing range; Love Her Madly and Love Her Madly Cherish, and the launch of two new variants; Love Her Madly Breathless and Love Her Madly Enchant.

Already being a fan of the Love Her Madly range, I was hooked at the first sniff of the new Breathless scent, which is a gourmand fragrance. Gourmands are perfumes which consist primarily of synthetic edible notes such as honey, chocolate, vanilla or candy. With a base of sweet Caramel, I won’t blame you for wanting to bathe in the perfume. It also includes top notes of; Lime, Orange, Pear, Lychee, and Cardamom, and at the heart of it; Jasmine.

I hate to say it, but I think that I like the new Breathless variant even more than the original (which was my perfume of choice for a long time, when I first met my husband). It is sweet without being too “teen-like,” offering a playful feminine scent with just a hint of sensuality.

What I love about the Love Her Madly range is that the scents are soft, so you don’t ever have to worry about overpowering the room with your fragrance of choice. It is a great everyday scent, which can be paired with their body lotion, fragranced body spray, and roll-on. It also happens to be very affordable (R320 for 50ml full-sized perfume) with a variety of gifting options too.

Essence Volume Stylist 18 hr Lash Extension Mascara - By Megan KellyEssence Volume Stylist 18 hr Lash Extension Mascara

Essence updates its range twice a year; in winter and summer, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the Essence and CATRICE updates are very possibly two of my most anticipated beauty highlights of the year. As always, Essence delivered a variety of new hits which I am still working my way through, but being the queen of mascara testing – I bought their new Volume Stylist 18 hr Lash Extension Mascara, as soon as I spotted it in store. There have been 2 other mascara launches that have also been introduced to the Essence range, but the packaging and claims of this one appealed to me, the most.

Let’s just start off by saying that this mascara is such an incredible hit, that I ordered a second from Takealot, to send to my best friend in Jo’burg because hell, everyone deserves good lashes.

Bearing in mind that it only costs R65, I was blown away by the quality of the formula – I don’t like “wet” or “clumping” mascaras as I always end up sneezing, opening my eyes too wide or somehow getting it absolutely everywhere, so love that this one is smooth yet somewhat dry. The spoolie is narrow and gently fans out, giving the ability to grip to every lash, curling and adding volume as you work the mascara over your lashes. The brush contains lengthening fibers, which gives your lashes a longer, fuller look. Best of all, the formula is long-lasting and unlike most budget-mascaras, at the end of the day, there is no fallout or raccoon eyes.

UBU Blender Baby Foundation Sponge - By Megan KellyUBU Blender Baby Foundation Sponge

I owned this foundation sponge years ago but had since gone back to using brushes to apply foundation. However, recently, I have been really struggling to get a streak-free finish, so decided to buy a new sponge to figure out if it is my brush or foundations.

Turns out, it must be my brush because this sponge makes foundation – all of my foundations – look air-brushed! The first time that I owned it, I had no idea that you’re meant to wet it before application, which gives a fresh makeup finish but also ensures that you don’t use as much product.

After wetting the UBU Beauty Blender, it becomes bigger, bouncier and softer to use. The pointed end helps get the foundation right into the crevices, around your nose, eyes, and chin, while the blunt end is great for the larger areas. I use my sponge to apply liquid and cream foundations, and concealers, but I believe you can also use it to set powders and bake.

I have tried several of the UBU brushes and products and am always pleasantly surprised by their quality and reasonable prices, but definitely, think that this has been my best find from their range and has inspired me to try out more of their products.

Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel - By Megan KellyDermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel

My skin is starting to act up, as I approach the end of my pregnancy, and I am seeing a few blackheads and breakouts popping up around my jawline, nose, and hairline. This is quite typical for me, but since introducing the Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel to my routine, I have found that extraction and healing is a lot better, leaving fewer scars.

The gel works to clear skin and prevent breakouts with spot-busting ingredients like Salicylic Acid which sloughs off pore-clogging skin cells to prevent future breakouts. Much to my excitement, it also includes Tea Tree Oil which is a natural antiseptic and helps to soothe the skin. The result is clearer, healthier-looking skin.

Misses

Essence My Must-Haves 8-colours - By Megan KellyEssence My Must-Haves

As I mentioned earlier, Essence has just updated their range which saw the exciting launch of their new Must-Haves collection. The concept is pretty brilliant as it allows you to personalize your own palette by popping in and out single eyeshadows, blushes, highlighters, bronzers, setting powders and even lip powders. In other words, you no longer have to buy an entire palette, where you’ll only end up using one or two eyeshadows, but instead, have the ability to build and create a palette that only includes your favorite products.

You have the option of a 4 or 8-colour palette. The design is sleek, and you only really have to buy one and then collect your mono-shadows to exchange and make up your own palettes to go. The empty palettes retail for R34.95 for the 4-colour palette and R44.95 for the 8-colour palette, with each individual shadow costing R34.95.

So, you’re probably wondering why I have listed this as a miss, especially as the product is convenient and the pricing isn’t all that bad. Well, here’s my gripe with the concept. If you were to pick up 4 shadows and the empty palette, it’ll cost a total of about R174.95 or if you were to opt for the larger 8-piece variant you are looking at a total cost of R324.95. Consider that Essence already has a beautiful range of the “All about…” eyeshadow palettes which feature 8 eyeshadows, and their new multi-use “Eye and Face” palettes featuring 4 eyeshadows and 2 face products, each retailing for R89.95. So, I guess, I am struggling to get over the maths when looking at the total cost of the My Must-Haves concept, especially when Essence is the most affordable brand available.

Okay, so let’s say we swallow the bitter pill of R324.95 for a budget palette (more than what I paid for my recent Smashbox palette) because after all, you are able to swap the colors out and have the ability to make a master palette that you will get the most use from.

That would be fine if every shadow and product were somewhat good quality, but judging by just some of the products that I have swatched – this isn’t the case. In fact, most of the products were quite chalky, lacked pigment and held no lasting power. I will assume that the range is bound to grow, with its popularity, so perhaps Essence will work on fixing the formula to be similar to their “All about…” and “Quattro” eyeshadow palettes, which offer soft, pigmented and quality shadows. But as of right now, the face products are quite limited (there is only 1 highlighter, 1 bronzer, 1 fixing powder and 2 blushes), there are more bad-quality eyeshadows than good (32 colours to choose from) and I am not quite sure how you’d use the lip products (2 lip powders), so it is a miss for me. However, it didn’t stop me from stocking up on their newest “All about Toffee” eyeshadow palette, which I will work on trialing soon.

Benefit Posie Tint (Mini) - By Megan KellyBenefit Posie Tint (Mini)

Benefit is really hyped up, in the beauty community but unfortunately, they are yet to launch one of their infamous counters here, in Port Elizabeth. However, I recently noticed that they’re stocking a few of their products at the check-out, in Edgars, so I picked up the Posie Tint lip and cheek stain. Okay, if I am being honest, I put it back when I saw the price for what I call a sample sized product, but my husband snuck it back in the basket, because well… he is awesome.

For the price of R165, I had some expectations. I mean, I don’t really know what I was expecting, perhaps a bigger bottle, perhaps a product that actually lasted, or just a product that did its job at all – was that all too much to ask?

The tint is REALLY light, I mean, you will need to be the color of milk for it to show up. But with a little bit of magic, and a whole lot of product (which you ironically, don’t get much of) you can make it work. I ended up using a highly-pigmented blush stick, and then topped it off with the Posie Tint, to give it a soft glow and add some contrast. I was somewhat happy with the outcome but not even 2 hours later, and the tint had literally vanished. I mean, WTH?

This experience hasn’t been enough to stop me from testing other products from their range, I am still very interested in seeing what their much talked about brow products are like, but for now – I think I will be skipping their tints.

Clarins Brightening Plus Moisturizer - By Megan KellyClarins Brightening Plus Moisturizer

As you know, I have a love-love relationship with Clarins products so this miss comes as a surprise to you, me, and everyone else in the universe. But I have actually included it, just so I can show you that your skin does change and that what may work for you, might not work for me.

You see, I have used the Clarins Brightening Plus range previously (about 3-years ago), and I thoroughly enjoyed and loved the range. So, when I received a press drop containing the range (yes, this range was sent to me – and yes, I am still featuring them as a miss.) at the same time that I noticed pigmentation appearing on my nose, I was pretty amped to give the range another go, this time documenting the actual change in pigmentation.

The range is said to help achieve a more even complexion by reducing the appearance of dark spots. I trialed the range for 2-weeks before packing it away and storing it for another day. My problem is that the formula just isn’t hydrating enough. I already suffer from dehydrated skin, but add to it that the seasons are changing and that I am pregnant, resulting in ever-changing skin, and well, the Brightening Plus range just wasn’t enough. I would have loved to have documented the change in my pigmentation, but my skin started acting up due to the lack of hydration, so I would rather have a dark patch on the bridge of my nose, than dry, flaking and sensitive skin.

I will give the range another go, perhaps in spring, or when my skin settles down from all these hormonal changes, but for right now, I am sticking with my hydrating regime.

Empties

Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream - By Megan KellyDermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream

Speaking of hydrating regimes, the moisturizer that I have found to help my skin is the Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream. I actually think that this is the first time that I have ever finished an entire moisturizer… twice.

The medium to light-weight formula is a great addition to any skincare regime that deeply moisturizes while helping to soothe and nourish the skin. The ingredients include Lecithin and Aloe Gel which help to moisturize, while extracts of Mallow, Cucumber, and Arnica soothe and hydrate the skin. The result is skin that is supple, hydrated and radiant.  I personally love how fast absorbing the cream is, while still providing those all-important hydrating benefits that I am in desperate need of.

Would I repurchase? 100% Yes.

Oh So Heavenly Oils of Africa Bath Wash - By Megan KellyOh So Heavenly Oils of Africa Bath Wash

Oh So Heavenly is notoriously known for hitting it out the park with bath products that smell incredible, and they’ve done a good job of extending their range to include products for both moms and babies. Although this body wash was meant for the arrival of Eli, we ended up using it with Axl who was intrigued by the packaging. After our first bath, it was not just the scent that kept us coming back for more. Nope, with the shift in season, skin tends to be drier and the combination of marula and baobab oils proved to be a gentle, yet deeply moisturizing formula for our toddler.

Would I repurchase? Already have!

Mama Mio Gorgeous Glow Cleanser - By Megan KellyMama Mio Gorgeous Glow Balancing Facial Wash

A few weeks ago, I reviewed the Mama Mio skincare range which is designed with pregnant moms in mind and ended up loving the Gorgeous Glow Balancing Facial Wash so much that I actually finished the product. It is a cleanser that lightly foams when you massage water into it, providing a deep cleanse that also works to balance your skin and fights off blemishes, experienced during pregnancy. I loved that the cleanser wasn’t harsh on my skin, and didn’t leave it feeling tight, while the combination of spot-fighting ingredients helped to combat congestion.

Would I repurchase? Yes.

John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Visibly Brighter - By Megan KellyJohn Frieda Brilliant Brunette Visibly Brighter Range

I have already featured the John Frieda Brilliant Brunettes Darker Brunettes range, which I am a huge fan of. So, when I pulled out the Visibly Brighter range, I was expecting a similar experience. However, I found this range to be underwhelming. It smells lovely, cleans my hair, but that’s about it – there was nothing that really stood out from this range, other than the golden color of the shampoo. I have actually sent the range to my friend, whose hair is lighter than my own, to see how it works for her, but in terms of texture, or results – it was just sort of meh.

Would I repurchase? Probably not.

I am Megan Kelly, the creator behind By Megan Kelly, mom of two boys, named Axl and Eli, and local business owner providing digital marketing solutions. I live on copious amounts of coffee, can be bribed with chocolate and will never admit to having too much makeup – although, I probably do.

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